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Adan heroics helps Sporting Lisbon stun Arsenal, reach Europa League quarterfinals

Portuguese giants secure win on penalties following impressive showing

Veteran Spanish goalkeeper Antonio Adan was the hero for Sporting Lisbon as they shocked Arsenal on penalties following a 3-3 aggregate scoreline to reach the UEFA Europa League quarterfinals. The Portuguese outfit secured a famous win at the Emirates Stadium to progress from the Last 16.

Despite a 2-2 draw in the first leg, Premier League leaders Arsenal remained favourites to emerge as winners of the tie in front of their own fans.

Arsenal started the match on the front foot, with fit-again striker Gabriel Jesus looking lively in attack as he led the line. The Gunners were forced into an early change after only nine minutes when Takehiro Tomiyasu injured himself in a collision and was replaced by Ben White.

The change did not stop the English side from dominating proceedings, and they made their dominance count in the 19th minute after a well-executed move. A brilliant pass from Jorginho found the run of Gabriel Martinelli, whose shot was saved by Adan, but Granit Xhaka arrived in time to fire the rebound into the back of the net.

Two minutes after their goal, Arsenal were forced into a second switch as talented defender William Saliba pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Rob Holding. In spite of the changes, Arsenal dominated the rest of the half as Sporting Lisbon looked bereft of ideas in attack.

The second half brought with it a different Sporting Lisbon side as Ruben Amorim’s side emerged guns blazing. The Portuguese team put Arsenal under pressure from the beginning of the half but failed to create clear-cut openings.

Shortly after the hour mark, it took a moment of brilliance to draw the visitors level and stun the Emirates into silence. Sloppy play in midfield saw Granit Xhaka make a loose pass which was pounced upon by Pedro Goncalves, who spotted Aaron Ramsdale off his line and fired an effort from the center circle which dipped just under the bar for his 17th goal of the season.

Arsenal struggled to break down a resolute Sporting Lisbon side and their goalkeeper Adan, who made seven saves in the game. The visitors finished with ten men after combative midfielder Manuel Ugarte received a second booking in the 118th minute. Both sides remained deadlocked until the end of 120 minutes despite intense pressure from the Gunners.

The first seven penalties of the ensuing shootout all went in, before Gabriel Martinelli saw his effort saved by the former Real Madrid man Adan. Nuno Santos scored the winning penalty to send Sporting Lisbon into the quarterfinals.

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